Thursday, May 19, 2011

SG Buses developer fails to get approval to use bus times data

The developer of popular iOS apps SG Buses and SG NextBus was told this morning that his application to use the bus arrival times data from SBS Transit had been rejected. No reason was given for the rejection.

Muh Hon Cheng had sent in his application last Thursday, immediately after reading on this blog that SBS Transit was open to allowing external developers access to the data. (Note: Due to an outage on Blogger, this particular story has been lost.)

The data on bus arrival times had previously been easily accessible on the web but SBS Transit recently put up barriers to prevent automated scripts from grabbing the data. As a result, a number of iOS and Android apps have been affected.

Hon Cheng said that he has sent an email asking Comfort Delgro, the parent company of SBS Transit, to reconsider its decision. As for his plans regarding SG Buses and SG NextBus, both of which still work, Hon Cheng said: "I will continue to treat bus arrival data as free and public information, and improve the applications as long as they are not completely blocked."

SG Buses is a bus guide that incorporates bus arrival times and has over half a million users in Singapore. It was listed as one of the top 10 most downloaded apps of all time in Singapore. SG NextBus delivers bus arrival times and has a little under a quarter of a million users. Both apps are free.

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Jon said...

SBS Transit say they put the block in place for "security" reasons.

I'm really not surprised they've put such a security measure in place.

Allegedly, a few years ago, the time of the number 197 bus from Parkway Parade escaped through a toilet window. It took SBS Transit many months to recapture the bus time and then it was only with the help of the Royal Malaysian Bus Time Police.

You can never be too careful with bus times.

tiger4™ said...

Security my ass. They are just too lazy to upgrade their server, s they put up the measure to prevent their servers from crushing repeatedly from overload. Why bother to put up the bus arrival timing when it is not freely accessible by the public?

iamclovin said...

@jon lmao

iamclovin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flashninja said...

It's clear that they did this so their iris app can enter the market.

Junda said...

MP these days are trying to be helpful in the public light. Tell them how helpful the apps are for commuters!